Charles F. Adams class destroyer

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Charles F. Adams class destroyer

The Charles F. Adams class is a ship class of 29 guided missile destroyers built between 1958 and 1967. Twenty three ships were built for the United States Navy, 3 for the Royal Australian Navy, and 3 for the West German Bundesmarine. The ships were based on the existing Forrest Sherman class, but were the first destroyers designed to serve as missile destroyers. They added 19 feet (5.8 m) of length to the center of the Forrest Sherman design to accommodate the ASROC launcher and changed the boilers from 600 psi (4,100 kPa) to 1,275 psi (8,790 kPa). Both of these changes ultimately caused significant maintenance problems for all ships in the class. The Charles F. Adams-class destroyers were the last steam-powered destroyers built for the U.S. Navy; beginning with the follow-on Spruance-class destroyers, all succeeding destroyer classes have been powered by gas turbines. The destroyers of this class served in the Cuban blockade of 1962 and the Vietnam War.

Although designed with cutting edge technology for the 1950s, by the mid 1970s it was clear to the Navy that the Charles F. Adams class was ill-prepared to deal with modern air and missile threats. To reduce this vulnerability, the Navy initiated the New Threat Upgrade (NTU) program, which consisted of a number of sensor, weapons and communications upgrades, intended to extend the service life of the ships. Under NTU the Adams class would receive improved electronic warfare capability through the installation of the AN/SLQ-32(V)2 EW Suite. The upgraded combat system would include the MK86 Gun Fire Control System with AN/SPQ-9 radar, Hughes AN/SPS-52C 3D radar, AN/SPG-51C (Digital) Fire Control Radars, and Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS). The ships would also have the ability to launch RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, to be housed in the MK-11 Tartar missile launcher.

Charles F. Adams class destroyer

During the 1980s, the Reagan Administration chose to accelerate production of the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers and build the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers as a replacement for the Adams class. The result of this was that only three ships, Tattnall, Goldsborough, and Benjamin Stoddert received the full upgrade. Other ships, of the class, such as Charles F. Adams, received only partial upgrades which included the AN/SLQ-32 and Harpoon Missile upgrades intended to extend their service lives until the Burke class could reach operational capability.

The United States Navy decommissioned its last Charles F. Adams destroyer, the Goldsborough, on April 29, 1993. The Australian and German navies had also decommissioned their last ships of this class by 2003. Four ships of this class were transferred to the Hellenic Navy in 1992, but have since been decommissioned.

The Charles F. Adams has been placed on inactive hold status and there are attempts by private groups to have it preserved as a museum ship. Mölders (D186) was made into a museum ship, but all of the other destroyers in the class have been sunk as targets, sunk for dive wrecks or sold for scrap.

Charles F. Adams class destroyer
Name: Charles F. Adams class destroyer
Builders: Bath Iron Works
New York Shipbuilding Corporation
Defoe Shipbuilding Company
Todd Pacific Shipyards, Seattle, Washington
Avondale Marine
Puget Sound Bridge and Dredging Company
Operators: United States Navy
Hellenic Navy
Preceded by: Farragut-class destroyer
Succeeded by: Spruance-class destroyer
Subclasses: Royal Australian Navy: Perth-class
German Navy: Lütjens-class
Completed: 23
Retired: 23
Preserved: 1
General characteristics
Class and type: Guided missile destroyer
Displacement: 3,277 tons standard, 4,526 full load
Length: 437 ft (133 m)
Beam: 47 ft (14 m)
Draught: 15 ft (4.6 m)
Propulsion: 2 × steam turbines providing 70,000 shp (52 MW); 2 shafts
4 x 1,275 psi (8,790 kPa) boilers
Speed: 33 knots (61 km/h)
Range: 4,500 nautical miles (8,300 km) at 20 knots (37 km/h)
Complement: 310-333
Sensors and
processing systems:
1 AN/SPS-10 surface search RADAR
1 AN/SPS-37 air search RADAR
1 AN/SPS-39 3D air search RADAR
2 AN/SPG-51 Tartar fire control RADAR
1 AN/SPG-53 gun fire control RADAR
AN/SQS-23 SONAR
Armament: 1 Mark 11 launcher (DDG2-14) or Mark 13 single arm launcher (DDG-15-24) for Tartar SAM system or later the Standard SM-1 and Harpoon antiship missile
2x Mark 42 5in(127mm)/54
1x ASROC Launcher
6x 12.8in(324mm) ASW Torpedo Tubes (2xMark 32 Surface Vessel Torpedo Tubes)
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